Team Jamaica triumphant at CAC Individual Championships

Team Jamaica triumphant at CAC Individual Championships

BY DAVID ROSE

Saturday, December 21, 2019

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Team Jamaica ended their recent campaign at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Under-20 Individual Chess Championships on an exciting note, as they secured two medals and crowned their second Woman International Master (WIM).

The CAC Chess Championships, which was held in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, saw over 20 players from the region compete over six days of gruelling play for the championship title.

In the merged Under-20 Absolute section, Candidate Master (CM)/Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Rachel Miller finished tied for third place (fifth after tiebreaks), and emerged as winner of the female section of the tournament on 6.5 points from nine games. This was Jamaica's first top five finish in the Absolute championship and first time winning the female championship title. CM Miller only conceded losses to Trinidadians FM Isaiah Johnson and eventual winner FM Alan-Safar Ramoutar. One of her more notable victories came in round four against Venezuela's Gabriel Salazar, who was rated almost 200 elo points above her.

“I am proud of myself for the result I was able to achieve. I am fortunate that, as a junior, I have been able to accomplish what I have done so far, but I need to continue my efforts in order to accomplish more. My plan right now is to keep working on my chess and play in more tournaments,” CM Miller said.

This was just one of the Jamaican number one female player's most recent highlights in what can be described as a very successful year. Her other notable performances came at the Panamerican Under-20 Championship and Zonal Championships, where she finished in fourth- and seventh-place, respectively.

Nickaylah Curwin finished tied for eighth place (10th after tiebreaks) in the Absolute section, and in third place for the female tournament on five points. Her round-eight victory was her most notable game as she defeated Daenon Ramsumair, who was rated more than 200 points than her. This was one of Curwin's most notable performances after tying for first in the FIDE Under 1600 section of the Jamaica Open.

Di-Jaun Smith, who got off to a slow start in the tournament, ended up finishing in eighth place on five points. In his second international tournament, Smith rose to the challenge and ended up defeating the second- and sixth-place finishers in the overall tournament.

For their exceptional performances, CM Miller was awarded her Woman International Master (WIM) title along with her first Woman Grandmaster (WGM) norm, while Curwin was preliminarily awarded the WFM title and a WIM norm as well. CM Miller becomes only the third player in the English-speaking Caribbean to have been awarded the distinguished title, and first Jamaican player to achieve a WGM norm.

“The Jamaican delegation can be proud of its performance, which has ended an active chess year for the Jamaica Chess Federation on a positive and promising note. Securing two medals, an all top 10 finish, and recording numerous upsets were definitely the highlight moments for me in this championship,” recounts Team Captain International Master Jomo Pitterson, who provided expert coaching to the team.


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